Hormone replacement therapy might be something you’ve considered before, but you’re unsure about its safety and effectiveness. These are completely understandable concerns, especially if your body is already going through some changes and you don’t wish to exacerbate them. Let’s explore some of the key areas of hormone replacement therapy together to shed some light on whether this treatment is right for you and your lifestyle. We hope that this blog post will shed some light on the question: is hormone therapy safe?
Is hormone therapy right for you?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer for this question, it is entirely up to the individual and your unique needs. You might decide that some symptoms you’re experiencing aren’t severe enough to treat; or aren’t having such a large impact on you that you require treatment. For example, some women choose to go through the menopause naturally. This is an entirely valid decision as they might not be experiencing severe symptoms. However, certain symptoms such as vaginal dryness and discomfort, depression, and anxiety can make interpersonal relationships difficult not to mention the personal toll they take on sufferers, so menopause hormone treatment might be beneficial here.
Evidence has also shown a small increased risk in breast, ovarian, and uterine cancers with synthetic hormones that don’t match the chemical structure of your bodily hormones. This might be a determining factor as to whether you should receive hormone replacement therapy, so it’s important to discuss this with your doctors especially if there is history of female cancer in your family. However, there has actually been a protective link made between the hormones we introduce that do share the same chemical structure as those already within your body.
Why do we use hormone replacement therapy?
We use hormone replacement therapy to soften the symptoms experienced by fluctuating hormone levels in the body. For women, this means controlling the decline of oestrogen and progesterone, and for men this means testosterone replacement therapy.
During the menopause, little-to-no oestrogen and progesterone are produced, and so the female body begins to undergo changes physically and mentally. Aching joints, hot flushes, bladder control problems, and sporadic increases in heartrate are all common symptoms experienced. Some of these symptoms may not hinder your day-to-day life and not every woman experiences the same or full range of symptoms, so treatment is entirely your decision.
In men, the decrease in testosterone levels is also known as the andropause. This decrease is a completely natural part of the ageing process, just like the menopause, but this doesn’t change the fact that management can bring some relief from symptoms. Common symptoms include but aren’t limited to erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, and depression. It also protects against cardiovascular disease and offers improvement in memory, energy, and mood.
The side effects of hormone replacement therapy
As aforementioned, HRT does have a small link with an increased risk in female cancers, namely breast, ovarian, and uterine. However, this is a controlled risk that your doctor will advise you on before you begin any treatment. Regular screenings are of course very important, as is professional medical guidance to help you make the best decision. Female side effects might experience side effects due to the dosage being not quite right; but a simple adjustment is all it takes to find your equilibrium again. These side effects include bloating, breast tenderness, and light vaginal ‘spotting’. Hormone replacement therapy for men comes a few minor side effects too that you might encounter. These are predominately bloating and fluid retention, acne, and increased urination.
Hormone replacement therapy for depression
An imbalance in hormones doesn’t just affect the body, but it also stirs the mind too. In both men and women, the imbalance of hormones can lead to irritability, anxiety, memory problems, disturbed sleep, and even depression. Because our hormones are the key ingredients in our bodies to keep us working and running smoothly, their imbalance affects nearly all parts of us. When they begin to affect your relationships with yourself and those around you; seeking help might be beneficial for you.
Hormone replacement therapy, regardless of male or female, has the potential to improve your quality of life and comfortability within yourself. Noticing changes and adjusting to them can be trickier for some than it is for others; if you are experiencing symptoms that you’d like to treat, enquire online or call 020 7584 4777 today to book your initial medical and no-obligation consultation.